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Genially about The Women of NASA - incredible mathematicians, engineers, and computers who got us to space!


The Women of NASA

Women have been a part of NASA since as early as 1922, serving as engineers, mathematicians, astronauts, and supervisors.


Women have been a part of NASA since as early as 1922, serving as engineers, mathematicians, astronauts, and supervisors.

Vera Huckel began working at NASA in 1939. At that time, very few women were working as “human computers,” or people who did mathematical calculations by hand before computers were more advanced. By 1945, Huckel had become a section head in charge of more than a dozen other women. During her years at NASA, she worked as an aerospace engineer and mathematician. Additionally, Huckel wrote the first program for the first electronic computer at NASA.

Pearl Young was the first woman NASA (called NACA at the time) hired in 1922. She was hired to work in the Instrument Research Division, and soon became an important part of the team at NASA. During her time there, Young revolutionized the way that technical papers and manuals were written. When Young retired in 1961, she had been Chief Technical Editor for almost 20 years. In that role, she was known for her diligence and accuracy.

Mary Jackson joined the West Area Computing Unit in 1951, and by 1953, she had joined a group working on the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. While there, Jackson began a training program at the University of Virginia to become an engineer. Mary Jackson became the first Black woman engineer at NASA in 1958. She retired after 34 years at NASA, and spent her incredible career working on supersonic research.

Dorothy Vaughan was working as a math teacher when she heard NASA was hiring. She applied, and began working at NASA in 1943. She became the first Black manager at NASA in 1949 when she was appointed section head of the West Area Computing Unit, the segregated computing section. Vaughan joined the Integrated Analysis and Computation Division in 1958 and mastered the computing language, even teaching her male colleagues.

Kitty O’Brien Joyner started at NASA in 1939 after graduating from the University of Virginia, and began her career as an electrical engineer. Joyner was the first woman to graduate from the University of Virginia’s engineering program, and she was the first woman to work as an engineer at NASA. She spent her career at NASA managing supersonic flight research, among other things.